“ Cairo is one of the greatest storehouses of human achievement on earth, ranging from the pharaonic through the Christian and Islamic periods to the Belle Epoque.”
― Michael Haag
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and, with a total population in excess of 16 million people, one of the largest cities in both Africa and the Middle East. It is also the 19th largest city in the world, and among the world’s most densely populated cities.
On the Nile river, It is famous for its own history, preserved in the fabulous medieval Islamic city and Coptic sites in Old Cairo. It is an amazing city full of life and movement, and it is that way almost 24 hours every day, with the noisy honking of horns, children playing in the streets and merchants selling their wares and services.
Cairo is a massive city. The central urban area consists of the following districts:
- Midan Tahrir
Midan El Tahrir is the very center of the modern city: big hotels, transport nexus and the Egyptian Museum.
- Midan Ramses
Include Cairo’s main railway station and a burgeoning retail and accommodation zone.
- Garden City
A suburb close to the city center and the Corniche el-Nil.
- Islamic Cairo
The center of historic Cairo, and also contains the Citadel, Mohamed Ali Mosque, Khan el-Khalili, historic mosques and medieval architecture.
- Old Cairo
Located south of downtown, includes Coptic Cairo, Fustat, and Rhoda Island.
- Dokki and Mohandeseen
Located on the west bank of the Nile, with upmarket restaurants, shopping, and accommodation.
Giza district a western district of the city at the Nile with Giza Zoo and the Haram district where the Giza Pyramids are located.
- Heliopolis and Nasr City
Heliopolis is an older district where well-to-do Egyptians and higher class people live. Nasr City is newer and contains City Stars, It’s biggest and most modern shopping mall, and retail social complex.
History of Cairo
The first settlement of Cairo was al-Fustat, founded in A. D. 641 as a military encampment by the Arabic commander ‘Amr ibn al-‘As. Originally a tented camp Fustat became a permanent settlement and the first capital of Islamic Egypt.
When a dissident branch of Muslims known as the Fatimid conquered Egypt in 969, they established their headquarters in the city and called it Al-Qahira (Cairo). In the 12th century, Christian Crusaders attacked Cairo, but they were defeated by a Muslim army from Syria, led by Saladin, who founded the Ayyubid Dynasty in the city.
In the thirteenth century, the Ayyubids were eclipsed by Turkish military conquerors known as the Mamluks, who ruled Egypt from A. D. 1260 to 1516. It declined after the mid-14th century, however, when the epidemic of bubonic plague known as the Black Death struck the city, decimating its population.
by the 15th century, Cairo’s population had been reduced to between 150,000 and 300,000. The city’s status was further diminished after Vasco da Gama discovered a sea route around the Cape of Good Hope between 1497 and 1499, thereby allowing spice traders to avoid Cairo.
Modernization of the capital began in 1830, but the period of greatest progress occurred during the reign of Ismail Pasha (r. 1863-79). Pasha undertook a major modernization of the city modeled on the renovation of Paris under Napoleon III (1808–1873).
Cairo’s population grew rapidly in the in the war years, reaching 2 million by the outbreak of World War II in 1939. Since that time the city has continued to boom in terms of both population and development.
Since then, large numbers of Egyptians from other parts of the country have migrated to the capital, and the government has worked to accommodate a rapidly growing urban population by creating new, planned suburbs, including Nasr City, Muqattam City, and Engineers’ City.
The rich cultural life is further enhanced by local theater, cinema, dance, and music, in addition to the city’s vibrant community of journalists and fiction writers.
Top Destinations in Cairo
- Al-Azhar Mosque
- Coptic Museum
- Egyptian Museum
- Khan al-Khalili
- Mahmoud Mukhtar Museum
- Mosque of Qaitbey
- Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
- Pyramids of Giza